On 31 August 2012, at about 1230 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper Seneca aircraft, registered VH-BTW (BTW) departed Hobart Airport, Tasmania for Bankstown Airport, New South Wales on a private flight under the instrument flight rules.  The pilot was the only person on board.    

Both engines stopped during cruise at 9,000 ft above mean sea level and 19 kilometres south of Nowra, New South Wales.  The pilot ascertained that the fuel selector for the right engine was in the cross-feed position and consequently both engines were drawing fuel from the left wing tank which was empty.  The pilot repositioned the fuel selector, was able to restart both engines and continued to Bankstown Airport. 

On landing at Bankstown, the aircraft had a significant lateral imbalance, as the left wing tank was empty and the right wing tank was almost full.  As a result, the aircraft departed the runway after landing.  The pilot regained control and the aircraft taxied to the parking area without further incident.  The aircraft was not damaged and the pilot was not injured.   

The incident highlights the importance of checklists in capturing errors made before and during flight and the need to conduct them diligently during all stages of flight. 

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 14